‘Unsolved murders aimed to split Kurds from state’

August 14, 2010, Saturday/ 16:10:00/ HAMZA ERDOĞAN
Former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Esat Canan has said murders in eastern and southeastern Turkey in the 1990s whose perpetrators have yet to be found were the work of the Ergenekon terrorist organization, which sought to break the ties that exist between the state and the country’s Kurds.

According to the former deputy, a clandestine network nested within the state prepared subversive plans to make the state confront its citizens under the veil of the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “The confrontation offended those [Kurds] who were hopeful about the state’s ability to solve problems],” Canan noted.

He also said the foundation for the Ergenekon terrorist organization was laid in the East and Southeast through murders on which judicial authorities have failed to shed light thus far.

Civilian prosecutors have been investigating Ergenekon since 2007. The organization is thought to have been assisted by a large number of people, including individuals in the military, academia and the business world. Prosecutors believe the organization is responsible for many murders and other suspicious incidents that shook society in past years. The main objective of the organization is to unseat democratically elected governments and enable the military to seize control of the country.

“Suspicious incidents there [in eastern and southeastern Turkey] make up a significant part of Ergenekon’s activities. Ergenekon was active there at the time. The organization grew there. Then it turned into an organization to fight the governments in Ankara. Most military generals who are implicated in coup plans once served in the East and Southeast,” Canan stated and expressed the hope to see Ergenekon prosecutors investigate the incidents that occurred in eastern and southeastern Turkey in the 1990s.

The East and Southeast witnessed brutal killings in the 1990s at the hands of the Yüksekova gang, an illegal organization formed in the Yüksekova district of Hakkari that smuggled drugs and weapons. It was headed by three high-ranking military officers and various politicians. The gang’s activities were first exposed in 1996.

“The Yüksekova gang was held responsible for the unsolved murders between 1993 and 1994. I was a deputy then. I talked to all state authorities to expose the gang but failed to convince them. The failure to act against the gang was, to me, a state policy,” Canan noted, and added that he once told former President Süleyman Demirel about the suspicious incidents and murders in eastern and southeastern Turkey.

“I warned deputies of eastern and southeastern provinces that unrest in the regions would drag the country into civil war. But I failed to garner their support. Then I talked to Demirel. I said the incidents had begun to move to the big cities and warned that young Kurds were planning to go to the mountains [to join the terrorist PKK]. I openly said that the state has a policy to urge them to go to the mountains. Demirel, however, chose to remove himself from the issue, saying that the state would never commit a crime,” Canan noted.

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